Last month, the York Bunkhouse was relocated from the lot adjacent to the Britannia Mine Museum.
The York was constructed as a bunkhouse for miners in 1936 and stands as a reminder of the social values and workers' way of life at Britannia Beach. Its construction occurred after a brief period of unrest in the 1930's over the living conditions of those working in the mines. The building was also made possible by a provincial increase in the price of gold that had a profound impact on the growth of mining in general.
The York was built as a two-story, rectangular building with a gable roof and access to the upper and lower levels via exterior staircases on the northern end. Constructed within the original street grid pattern established at the turn of the century, the building has aesthetic value as an intact example of a utilitarian building for miners' accommodation.
Alongside its counterpart, the Ritz, both named after well-known hotels of the era, the York is an example of a bachelor's quarters. These bunkhouses were centrally located for ease of access to the site and operated as shift-beds, where miners who worked opposing shifts would take turns sleeping in the same bed.
Because of their historical significance, in addition to their solid construction and well-maintained upkeep, many of the original buildings from Britannia Mine are on-site at the Britannia Mine Museum. For example, the A-Z Exhibit building used to house managerial and administrative offices. The Engineering Building was built as a bunkhouse, and the cottages were moved from Mount Sheer to their current locations in 2009 during the site renovations.
The Britannia Mine Museum is home to many pieces of living history. Come see the exhibits, housed within our on-site heritage buildings, and learn more about the history of Britannia Beach.